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The Stress Curve

When a child starts an argument with me, his or her stress curve rises. It is almost always the case that my stress curve rises, as well. No real work can be done at the top of this curve. I have found that saying someting like, "Let's take a minute so that both of us can calm down," is usually accepted and it does aid in lowering the stress for both. I might add that I don't want to discuss anything while I am upset. After we have had some cooling off period, some work can be done. Even though I have other students, I sometimes turn off the lights in the classroom for a few moments. This does two things: it aids in lowering the curve and it signals to the student that I am upset and that I want to get to the place where we can discuss the issue. Most often, when this kind of response to a student's agitation is attempted, he or she has empathy for me and does allow the cooling off period.

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Robert Scorby Copyright January 9, 2007 (all rights reserved) ??